Merry Christmas, Happy Summer

Well, my apologies for the long wait. I kept telling myself not enough had happened to make writing worth it, and now I almost have too much to say! The past month has been less of living the dream, and more of facing reality. I came to a very abrupt realization that I needed a job when my bank account had dwindled down to double digits. Between gas and groceries those two digits just kept getting closer and closer to just being one, single digit. It was time to find a job.

I spent days handing out resumes (or better known here as CV’s), and hours filling out application forms. It was a long process and it would be nice if I could say it paid off. But here I sit, one month later, on the couch of the same Kiwi who took me to Piha my first week here- I don’t know where I would be without this guy, he’s been great!  I mean, I do have a job. Actually, I have two, but here lies the issue: One I make no money at, the other I don’t start work until February. See the problem?

The first job I scored is one teaching swimming lessons. I managed to get this job fairly easily as I had done all my instructor training back in Canada. It’s a shame really that there are no lessons over the Christmas break. I thought I may have some luck there as it’s summer, but no, there are no lessons to be taught until February. I went through my interviews and even taught a class to show I knew what I was doing. I was hired quickly and I’m excited to start, I just have to make money to hold me over until then. This is where job number two comes in.

The second job I scored was one I applied for out of desperation. I had seen their “Hiring” ads on three different websites and on the job board at the work exchange office. I read the posting numerous times but always passed over it as I never really understood what the job was for. They said lots about making money, it being a good job for backpackers, and things like that. It never said WHAT the job was. So it took me a while to apply. Two days later I got a call and an interview was set up. It was the shortest interview of my life. 5 minutes. It wasn’t even really an interview, it was more or less Slade (the guy doing the interview) talking at a million miles an hour. He then told me  to come back the next day for an “Observation day”. I was told to wear shoes that were comfortable to walk in, wear black pants, and to bring a lunch. I still had no idea what the job consisted of. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered what I had gotten myself into. Door-to-door campaigning. Yay?

I arrived for Observation at 11pm. Filled out some paper work, then met the people I would be working with. I was handed a red jacket to wear and was told I would be following around Michelle, the team leader, for the day. We drove out to into the suburbs and parked on the street in front of some houses. Our job was to go door-to-door trying to find people who would sign up to become monthly donors for New Zealand Red Cross.

I survived the day and was congratulated on being someone who fit the job. I was welcomed on board and started work the next day. It’s a brutal job. Most nights I’m not out of the office until after 9pm. It makes for a long day, especially considering I’m only paid on commission. For each sign up I get, I receive twice the amount of a months donation as pay. For example, if I sign someone up for twenty dollars a month, I make forty dollars. Sounds decent enough, it’s a shame nobody ever wants to sign up. In two weeks of working 10 hour days, I made a mere $130. If pay keeps going this way there is no chance I will be able to afford a place to live. I need to find a new job.

Enough about jobs, let’s talk about some fun things I have gotten up to! Andy (The kiwi I’m currently staying with), has taken me a couple fun places now. One day we went skating then played some pool. Another day we went and played frisbee golf at One Tree Hill then proceeded to make a giant sheep out of rocks in the crater of the volcano. That was a lot of laughs. Last week we went up to Waiwera to go to the hot pools. I have never been in a pool, a pool big enough to swim lengths in, that was as hot as a hot tub. There were also waterslides and a movie pool where movies were played on a big projector screen. Yet another fun day!

One night we went to Franklin road in Ponsonby (a suburb of Auckland), to look at all the Christmas lights. I was kind of disappointed at how few houses here put up Christmas lights and decorations. This street however was spectacular. Every house was brightly lit, each one a bit more flashy than the previous. One house had a car totally wrapped up in lights, while another had live music playing on the front porch. Even though it’s summer, that night felt a little more like Christmas.

I love Christmas time, it’s always been my favourite time of year. I love doing the Christmas baking with mom, shopping at all the craft fairs, trying to come up with the funniest yet most awesome gift for dad, wrapping presents, trying to convince my sister to let me wake her up early on Christmas morning, driving around with the family looking at all the Christmas lights, endless attempts at allnighters with my brother every Christmas Eve, and decorating the tree. The list could go on forever, really. AS you can see though, a lot of my favourite things to do with Christmas involve my family… all my family who are on the other side of the world from me. It makes it a hard time for me, I wound’t quite say I’m homesick, but I do miss my family and am sad not to be spending Christmas with them. It’s the first year we haven’t all been together as a family. I suppose it had to happen at some point though, right? Still doesn’t make it much easier.

It is now Christmas day here, as Andy has just pointed out to me. It is 12:11 AM. Sure doesn’t feel like Christmas. I spent all night wrapping up Andy’s presents. I wanted to wrap, so he let me do it for him, he didn’t mind one bit. I spent an hour last weekend picking out wrapping paper and ribbons. I wanted the presents to look awesome. I take pride in wrapping the presents.

I’m going to Andy’s parents house for Christmas dinner (it’s actually lunch). Apparently there will be quite a few family members there so it will probably be a bit crazy for me, overwhelming too. I’m glad that I have people to spend the holiday with though. It will probably be lots of fun too. Later tomorrow evening we’re heading up north to Whananaki to go camping. The campsite is right along this gorgeous beach. It’s in just a small little town, I stopped there when I went up North last month. We’ll be there for New Years too, I’m excited for it. I haven’t been camping in years. It’s odd to think about going to the beach at this time of year. Wearing shorts and tank tops at the same time as santa hats, it’s just odd. Summer in December… hmm. I’ll have to make sure my camera is super charged up since I won’t have any way to charge it once we’re there.

Anyhow, I suppose I should catch some sleep, Santa won’t come if I’m still awake!

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, everyone!

8 thoughts on “Merry Christmas, Happy Summer

  • Enjoy your Christmas, Lauren. Jobs always seem elusive, until you land one. Have fun on this adventure and take lots of pictures!

  • This is surely a big adventure and you are learning so much … I want you to know Papa and I pray you have a special Christmas enen though different … Love and hugs.

  • Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for keeping me up with your exciting adventures, what fun! I am thinking of you and my family living in New Zealand on this Christmas day. I hope you have a wonderful day with lots of laughs and good times. It sounds like your New Year’s will be another adventure and I look forward to your next message.

    Merry Christmas, Nora

  • So great to hear from you Lauren. Enjoy the Christmas Season with your new found friends. We think and talk about you so often and pray for you too. Chalk it all up to experience and learn from your adventures. Lots of love,
    Grammie & Grampie xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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